Friendship in Julius Caesar

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  • 0:03 Caesar Is Like High School
  • 0:33 Friendship of Brutus…
  • 1:51 Julius and Mark Antony…
  • 2:42 The Friendship of…
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

Friendship is an important concept in many stories. In this lesson, we will examine some of the friendships from William Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar,' specifically, Cassius and Brutus, Antony and Caesar, and Brutus and Caesar.

Caesar Is Like High School

Sometimes Julius Caesar reads like a high school student's life: There's the popular kid, Caesar, and the kid who is jealous of the popular kid, Cassius. Because he's so envious of Ceasar, Cassius plots and schemes to destroy his reputation. Then we have Brutus who gets sucked into the whole idea. In essence, the dynamics of certain friendships play as important a role in Julius Caesar as they do in life. Let's explore three key friendships in the play.

Friendship of Brutus and Cassius

One of the first examples of friendship that we see in Julius Caesar is between Brutus and Cassius. This is important because Cassius uses their friendship to manipulate Brutus. At one point Cassius says:

'Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have:
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.'

In other words, Cassius has noticed that Brutus is being distant with him. Cassius loves Brutus and wants to know if he is upset with him. But then, Brutus explains that he is just worried about something private in his own life.

When Cassius realizes that Brutus is upset about something else, and that he isn't angry with him, Cassius immediately launches into a tirade about Caesar. He even goes so far as to casually plan an assassination, which is, of course, a very serious offense. However, the fact that Cassius felt that comfortable sharing his hatred of Caesar with Brutus shows just how close the men are. In addition, Cassius knows that Brutus is also worried about Caesar ruling Rome. Brutus does not tell Cassius this directly, but because they are so close, Cassius is able to guess his concern about Caesar ruling Rome. Thus, the close friendship between the two men is integral in launching the plot against Caesar.

Julius and Mark Antony Friendship

Another important friendship in the play is between Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. From the beginning of the play, the audience knows that Mark Antony and Caesar are close. At one point, Caesar, relying on an old wive's tale about runners and infertility, even asks Mark Antony to touch his wife while he's running in an attempt to cure of her of her sterility.

In fact their friendship is so strong, that in the midst of Cassius and Brutus planning Caesar's murder, Cassius suggests that they kill Mark Antony, too. To support this idea, Cassius says it would be bad if:

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